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Anti-corruption campaigner was poised to become Chisinau’s mayor until the courts stepped in.29 June 2018
Moldova’s prime minister heard a lecture from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his visit to Washington this week.
Pompeo “reminded” Pavel Filip that “free and fair elections are a hallmark of a democratic government and must reflect the will of the country’s citizens without political interference” – most likely a reference to the disputed mayoral election in the country’s capital, Chisinau.
The Moldovan Supreme Court voided the election Monday, upholding a lower court ruling cancelling the result of the vote that seemed to deliver the mayor’s office to anti-corruption campaigner Andrei Nastase, Balkan Insight reports.
Nastase captured 52.57 percent of the popular vote in the 3 June runoff, beating Socialist Party candidate Ion Ceban by five percentage points.
The Supreme Court agreed with the lower court argument that both candidates resorted to illegal use of social media in the campaign. Its decision cannot be appealed, RFE/RL writes.
Nastase ran on a pro-Western platform, contrasting Ceban’s pro-Russian stance, RFE says. The Moldovan presidency is held by Socialist Igor Dodon, a firm supporter of stronger ties with Russia, while Filip’s government favors more integration with the European Union.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn on Wednesday urged Moldova to take “appropriate measures” and show respect for the popular vote, Balkan Insight says.
They spoke of the “democratic values and the rule of law [which] are also at the heart of the European Union's relations with the Republic of Moldova, as our Association Agreement testifies.”
Filip rejected the idea that his government played a role in the court decision, The Washington Post reports.
Protests against the decision were held daily since the lower court’s original ruling on 20 June. Nastase has also called for protests.
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